The Saco City Council is seeking letters from Ward 5 residents interested in filling a council vacancy through the expiration of the term in December 2022. Letters must be addressed to the city clerk and are due by 4 p.m. March 24. Courtesy Photo

SACO — Ward 5 residents intrigued by municipal government and interested in serving as a city councilor are asked to submit a letter of interest to Town Clerk Michele Hughes by March 24.

A vacancy exists in the ward since the Feb. 22 resignation of former Councilor Alan Minthorn, which was formally accepted by the council March 1.

Under the city charter, the City Council will appoint an individual from the ward to serve the remainder of the term, which expires in early December 2022.

Minthorn, who also served as deputy mayor, had been a Saco city councilor since 2015. He was re-elected, unopposed, to a three-year term in November 2019.

Ward 5 is near the downtown sector, and is bounded in part by North Street, Pepperell Street, Dyer Street, the Saco River and by the Maine Turnpike. The largely residential ward includes a 57-acre parcel that is the subject of a proposal by a Massachusetts company that hopes to build 336 luxury apartment units in seven, 48-unit buildings. Residents have raised concerns about the size of the project, its suitability in the ward of mostly single-family dwellings, and impacts to traffic and school enrollments.

Minthorn resigned after members of the Save Saco Neighborhoods group opposed to the large-scale apartment complex began the process of seeking a recall election by filing an affidavit with the City Clerk’s Office on Feb. 22 They claimed Minthorn had not been properly representing constituents of Ward 5 and took issue with some of his votes associated with a zoning change in the neighborhood.


Minthorn resigned later that evening.

In a statement issued in the days prior to his resignation, Minthorn said his focus had been to find alternative locations or adjustments to limit the impact of the proposed 336-unit apartment complex. “Ultimately, we should do everything we can to legally stop this huge project for coming to fruition,” he said.

Submissions from interested Ward 5 City Council candidates will be reviewed and discussed publicly during the City Council meeting on April 5.

Interested candidates must submit a letter of interest to Michele Hughes, city clerk, at or the City Clerk’s Office at Saco City Hall, 300 Main St., by 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 24.

The council appointment will be the second made in recent months. Former Ward 4 Councilor Lynn Copeland resigned late last year after her election to the Maine House of Representatives. At that time, an initial reading by the council of a legal opinion on procedures for filling the vacancy appeared to indicate that an individual would be appointed to the City Council until the next election, Nov. 2, 2021, with a special election at that time to fill the remaining year of the term. After seeking clarification however, the council learned that the appointment is through the remainder of the unexpired term, to December 2022. While portions of the city charter were amended in 2019, including the staggering of City Council terms, section 2.06 that outlines what happens in the event of a council vacancy, was not. Michael Burman was appointed to fill the Ward 4 vacancy through its expiration in December 2022.

An overview of city councilor responsibilities may be found at:

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